Lucy Tecle, Schmidt Lab UG, Receives McNair Scholarship

March 27, 2019

Congratulations to Lucy Tecle, Schmidt Lab undergraduate student, who was selected as a University of Florida’s McNair Scholar for 2019-2020. Lucy works with postdoc, Dr. Jorge Santiago.

The McNair Program prepares undergraduate students for pursuit of a doctoral degree by providing financial support, research mentoring opportunities, academic skills and strategies, and develop crucial student/faculty mentor relationships for success in higher education. During the summer, McNair Scholars participate in an intensive research internship and attend GRE test preparation workshops. Throughout the academic year, Scholars continue their research and utilize resources tailored towards the graduate school application process and other topics related to graduate study at the doctoral level. All of these activities are designed to equip McNair Scholars with the information and experience required to successfully enter and complete a graduate program.

Research description:
The prevalent challenge for tissue decellularization is translating between various animal models and tissue structures to establish a standardized procedure. Each approach requires a set of significant optimization parameters to remove cellular components from native tissue while preserving the extracellular matrix (ECM). In this project, Lucy will adapt the laboratory’s rat nerve tissue decellularization process and optimize the procedure for porcine skeletal muscle tissue (pSKM). The characterization and fabrication of acellular pSKM hydrogels can confirm the efficacy of translating chemical decellularization processes with minimal modifications. Ultimately, this project will design ECM-mimicking hydrogels within an in vitro testbed model to assess and treat neuromuscular disorders.

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